Mother's Day, Mothering, Prayers for Pastors

Because Mother’s Day (a prayer for pastors)

Us and ours. They are good sports. (Church picture directory, 2013)
Us and ours. They are good sports. (Church picture directory, 2013)

Heavenly Parent,
You are Father and Mother to all Creation.
You planted us and you nourish us.
You exist beyond our comprehension and
transcend the labels we use to describe you.

But we are label-makers,
and category-keepers,
and people-sorters,
and occasion-creators,
and this Sunday we face one
we just can’t get right.

Too much, and it hurts people.
Too little, and it hurts others.

Also, and you know this, we have our own stories.
Our mothers have died
or are still too close
or were never close enough
or never quite meshed
or smacked us too hard
or …
or nurtured us enough
or lived life with panache
or served you with whole hearts
or loved us unconditionally
or…
or all these things, in unequal measure,
over a lifetime.

That’s just to get started.

Some of your servants are mothers,
and some have lost children,
and some wanted them but never did have,
and some never wanted to,
and some had more than they expected,
and some gave theirs to other mothers,
and some feel it goes by too fast,
and some wish it went by faster,
and some worry what their kids think of them
and whether they will remember this awful card holiday
and sort of wish they would
even though it shouldn’t matter.

Bearing all of this in mind and prayer,
we ask, Holy One, with your heart for all people,
give us a measure of grace with one another,
an instinct for the places where some hurt and others chafe.
Give us a measure of mercy and a big dose of patience where our mercy is strained and a sense of humor when people get on our nerves and a heart full of the unconditional love you give so freely to us, ready to share with those who need it most. Amen.

Children, Mothering, Poetry

The kind of mother I want to be

On NPR they told the story
Of helicopter parent glory:
Moms and dads of grown-ups calling
Corporations to ask why they are failing
Evaluations and reviews —
Because it all reflects on who?

Perhaps they fear the future for them,
Comfortable kids who may be poor then.
We are punch lines of late-night jokes
And not the least bit like our folks
Who sent us off and wished us well.
Instead we hover, raising hell.

LP on her way to Vespers at Smith.
LP on her way to Vespers at Smith.

The kind of mother I want to be
Flies in when asked, and just to see
The way she dresses for the concert,
His gold tie jaunty with the black shirt,
A glimpse of mustache (is it curled?),
The ways they move in their own worlds.

These observations aren’t just surface,
They give a sense of inner purpose
A frame of mind, a turn of heart,
A choice to take the better part
All show the people they’ve become,
the things they carry learned at home.

Admittedly I miss the times they
sat and told me of their dramas,
making me feel like Wonder Mama.
I think they hesitate to say
the things that matter, which then might
move out of dream and into sight.

If you tell your mother, it must be true,
that conclusion you’ve held for only you.
I love them, even tied in knots.
To help them rearrange their thoughts
Is still a loved, familiar task
But mine now only if they ask.

~~~~~~~~

(Inspired by a conversation between Krista Tippett and Brene Brown.)